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Aboriginal concerns to UNHRC
PRESS RELEASE - National Aboriginal and Islander Legal Service Secretariat (NAILSS)
26th October 1999
Aboriginal Representatives Tell UN Human Rights Commissioner of their Concerns
In Geneva, two Aboriginal representatives have told the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs Mary Robinson, that the human rights situation of Indigenous peoples in Australia is of concern.
Mrs Helen Corbett of the Indigenous Woman Aboriginal Corporation (IWAC) and Mr Frank Guivarra of the National Aboriginal and Islander Legal Service Secretariat (NAILSS) were members of an International Indigenous delegation which met on 25th October with Mrs Robinson.
"The meeting was a good opportunity to raise our concerns about the situation of human rights in Australia with the High Commissioner" said Mr Guivarra today.
"We pointed out, in particular the findings of the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, that certain amendments to the Native Title Act, the so-called Ten Point Plan amendments are discriminatory." said Mrs Corbett
"We expressed our concern about the Government's inadequate response to the CERD recommendations"
"We believe that Mrs Robinson has taken notice of the issues we raised." said Mrs Corbett
The Indigenous representatives undertook to provide a written submission to Mrs Robinson detailing their concerns.
"We will be writing to Mrs Robinson expressing all of our concerns. We will also be mentioning Senator John Herron's new addition to the 'Rebut the Myths` publication which denies Australia is in breach of its human rights obligations. This is clearly a political whitewash and ignores the recent CERD committee decision and the government's own legal advise which stated that the amendments to the Native Title Act would be discriminatory."
"We call upon the Australian Government to enter into a constructive dialogue with the UN Human Rights organisations such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the CERD committee" Mr Guivarra concluded.
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